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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 17 July 1999
If anyone wants to truly understand Vietnam's history and what life under communism is like, they should read this book. Duong Thu Huong reveals a reality I had not known about until I read Paradise of the Blind. This book captures the idealistic hope and devastating betrayal and disillusionment of those who gave their lives and hopes to communism, only to discover it is a lie. I will never be able to look at Vietnam and the war the same way again. The fact that this book is banned in Vietnam only reveals its power. I look forward to reading more of this author's books.
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on 7 May 1999
When the Vietnamese Communist Party slightly gave people freedom of speech in 1987, Duong Thu Huong cleverly borrowed many stories to analyze what had happened to ordinary people of the northern part of Vietnam under the communist regime. She challenges the communists to look at people's miserable lives that they have made and lured people into. Paradise of The Blind depicts some realities of negative aspects of communism. The story circles around the life of a young lady, Hang, in her relationship with her both mother's and father's relatives. All of them, her mother, her aunt, her uncle, her cousins and herself are all intertwined in a twist of the country without a way out. The story gives readers a mixed feeling of pity, sympathy, hatred and love for these Vietnamese people. However, Duong Thu Huong does not tell the whole truth. She does not point out some crucial details of the horrors the Land Reform Movement had created and of how poor people had been through. For example, these communists and even common people would sacrifice their parents and their siblings for their own fame and future during the Land Reform Movement. Moreover, many communists would not give their immediate families' members a way out. Paradise of The Blind was among the first books written under Vietnamese Communist Regime ever translated into English. I think you will enjoy it. If you are among those suffering and struggling by the ideal or "paradise" of the communists, you will share the same feelings of those people. If you don't know what live under the Communist Regime is like, you may have a great insight about it.
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on 3 February 1999
Paradise of the Blind is a poignanant, deeply moving book and a beautiful portrayal of three women in 1950 era Vietnamese society. The book revolves around Hang, a 20 year old "exported worker" who recalls much of the action in a series of flashbacks. Through her memory Hang struggles to purge herself of a binding past- a family nearly destroyed by communist corruption. Only once she distances herself from her family's history, especially from the lingering emotions of hatred and loyalty towards family, can Hang move on with her life, succeed and become personally liberated.
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on 4 November 1998
Duong Thu Huong characters are realistic, strongly portrayed. Her images are vivid, sometimes described with too much detail and color. I like her juxtaposing of beautiful images next to repulsive ones. Sometimes they are very graphic, such as when she described the articles found in a sewer. The only problems I have with the book are the minute details which the narrator remembers. But then, these can also be the doings of her mind. Another weak part of the novel is how and why her father disappears (dies?). The motivation for his leaving is not made clear, though it was attempted. All and all, the author is a master of description, effortlessly evoking sights, smells, emotions, characters. The main character is in no way provincial, though some characters are. Vietnamese literature often simplifies the provincial character into an earthy, unsophisticated stereotype. Hä`ng is a modern women and she has gone to Russia; this setting which unites the novel lifts the book out of the ancestral and unchanging Vietnamese countryside, giving it an international scope.
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on 30 March 1998
Paradise of the Blind made me feel! The author displays that certain intangible method for evoking that which defines what Vietnam must have represented for millions. Having visited these places, I could see, hear, and smell them. I loved this book, and while it made me sad, it was also quite uplifting because it expresses an individual's authentic liberation.
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on 6 July 1999
Powerful in it's subtlety, brilliant in it's poetry. The beauty of the Vietnamese language and way of life is portrayed in this moving and firm commentary of Communism and Vietnamese tradition. Absolutely engaging of the mind and the heart. No characters have ever been as dear to me, nor any message given to me as carefully and respectfully. I've never read a book so poetic in its language, yet as meaningful as it is poetic.
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on 17 May 2009
A book that's given me a lot of pleasure, as well as a view of Vietnam that's different from the 60's news, or the various American movies that have given the view from the west. Duong Thu Huong was a lucky find for me and I'd never have imagined that I could have read a book by a woman about a girl growing up and discovering herself and her reality so fascinating. An excellent authour who makes me wish I had a facility with languages so that I didn't have to rely on the translation.
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on 22 September 2014
Recommended by a niece who went to the place ; very powerful but slow reading...
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on 8 May 2001
Paradise of the blind is an interesting book which allows people to understand what vietnamesego through daily. As a student, i know that all people describe communism as a group of people who have total control in a country. But the author goes more deeply into describing the struggle of vietnamese women.
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on 8 February 2016
A WASTE OF TIME! Do not buy!
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